J Peggy Taylor
For Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge this week, we are looking at the ground. I often find the ground quite interesting because it is full of history.
The first image I’ve chosen shows an example of the Concretionary Magnesian Limestone on our North East England coastline. If you’re a geologist, you’ll certainly have heard of this well-known rock formation. The rocks were formed during the Permian period, over 250 million years ago, after rising sea levels flooded the adjacent sand dunes. The UK was still part of a large landmass at that time and lay just north of the equator. I always find it fascinating that we can just look down at the ground and look back so far into pre-history.
Another aspect of this particular spot that always strikes me as we walk across it, is the contrasts in texture. The sand is smooth, soft and usually cool, as the rising tide is normally casting its white foamy fingers across it. The Concretionary Magnesian Limestone is, by contrast, very rough. It really does look like concrete, with lumps of stone set into it, created entirely by the forces of Nature without any human help.
My second image is of the old road that runs through our woods. It still retains its old surface of local sandstone gravel, though some parts have been reinforced with newer limestone. Unsurprisingly, this road is known as the Stoney Road and a hundred years ago was the main road linking our village to a neighbouring one. We often walk along the old road when we go into the woods, to see the carpets of bluebells in Spring or the carpets of leaves in Autumn but it is also a cool green tunnel in high Summer. I’m sure this old road would have many tales to tell, if only the ground could talk!
Do take a look at the ground with other entrants in Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge this week – there are some wonderful shots to see.
J Peggy Taylor
Lets Go Fly A Kite is our theme for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week. We have had lots of family fun with kite flying over the years. I remember when our younger children were still quite small, we made a homemade kite from upcycled plastic sheeting – it was almost as big as the youngest child. This kite lasted several years but then our youngest decided he wanted to make the really old fashioned kind of kite – from broadsheet newspapers, sticky tape, garden canes and string. When it was completed, this one flew well and provided hours of fun on windy days.
We generally go kite flying in our local park, close by to where we live, but on our Summer visits to the seaside at South Shields, we often see a different type of kite flying – kite surfers enjoying their energetic sport. Our seaside sport tends to be a little less exerting as we stroll off along the cliff-top path, enjoying the views of the rocky coastline and nature-watching as we go.
One of the pleasures of the coastal path walk is watching the sea birds as they ride high on the air currents or swoop low over the sea to seek out a tasty snack.
As we walk a little further along the path above Marsden Bay, we can see Marsden Rock. The remaining piece of this Magnesian Limestone sea stack stands 50 metres high and is alive with seabirds. Kittiwakes, Herring Gulls and Cormorants tend to be the most numerous when we have visited. Many of these birds nest on the cliff edges of the stack. My photo was taken in late July so the youngsters would all have fledged by now. You can just make out the white dots of the birds flying around above the rock.
Here we are kite flying in our local park, our nearby kite flying area that I mentioned earlier. Our eldest son had found some Star Wars themed kites whilst away on his Summer travels and this windy day provided the ideal opportunity to try them out.
Sometimes big brothers are handy when you are having a spot of kite trouble. But a little readjusting of the string and up we go … just mind the trees and the electricity wires over there!
We do have one particularly well-remembered family kite incident – not on this visit but another time – when our youngest’s kite became stuck in a small tree. He was determined to retrieve it and so set off to climb the tree. This was not as easy as he’d anticipated, but he persevered. Just as he finally swung himself up into the branches, the wind blew the kite free from the tree! Oh the joys of kite flying 😀
Do take a look at what others have found for ‘Let’s Go Fly A Kite’ in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week.
J Peggy Taylor
Textures appeal to our sense of touch as well as creating interest visually. I love natural materials and for Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge this week I am sharing some of my favourite natural textures with you.
My header image shows the heavily textured bark of a Scots Pine tree. Tree bark is wonderful for touchable texture with different species providing us with everything from rough to smooth. This Scots Pine tree stands on one of our regular woodland paths so we can enjoy its textured bark as we pass by.
In our part of the country sandstone forms one of the geological layers and was used as a building material of choice for many centuries. The stone was normally quarried very locally to where it was needed, though often not much ‘quarrying’ would have been needed as there are many sandstone outcrops from where it would have been readily available. The sandstone in my photo has been hewn into large blocks and built into this fortified medieval manor house. Sandstone is another wonderfully touchable texture. For me, its rough surface speaks solidity and security.
Wood can have so many textures during its lifespan. In this decaying log the solid wood is gradually being broken down into soft and crumbly fibres. As it is decaying, the log provides us with lots of visual textures.
In Summer when we are out on a ramble and want a comfortable seat for our picnic lunch, we will often make bracken ‘cushions’ to sit on. As the year draws on into Autumn, the bracken turns brown and by Winter it lies on the ground like a cosy patterned blanket keeping the earth warm. In my image the light picks out the fronds of bracken that have been painted white with frost.
Seashore environments can exhibit a wonderful mixture of textures. Our North East coastline certainly provides a lot of interest through its flora and fauna and in its Magnesian Limestone rocks and geological features. The rocky coastline in itself has plenty of exciting visual texture but getting up close to some of those seashore rocks reveals more temptingly touchable textures … such as this smooth and leathery Knotted Wrack seaweed with its bumpy air bladders that clings to the rough limestone rock alongside the resting limpets hiding in their ridged shells and clamped firmly on the rocky surface waiting for the swish of the returning tide before they venture forth to feed.
To complete my texture tour I wanted to include a couple of my son’s images of fungi textures. He likes to be quite creative in his photography, so he often chooses unusual angles. I love the way he has managed to capture the texture in this worm’s eye view of the gills underneath the cap of this fungus.
Jelly Ear Fungus is a strange and fascinating fungus that we find growing on elder trees. When this fungus is freshly grown it is pliable with a slightly squishy texture and a soft downy covering. Its shape is often reminiscent of an ear with prominent veins … though perhaps an ear from some alien life form rather than a human!
To explore more textures please do take a look at Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge this week.
J Peggy Taylor